“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
This passage demands deep, prayerful reflection. It gives us a clear command: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for “grieve” is lupeo, and it means to cause or experience intense pain, sorrow, or distress.
We are therefore informed that our sin brings great sorrow and pain to God and, given what the rest of the passage says, this is especially true for the sins of the mouth that cause disunity and strife among believers.
Our thoughts, actions, and words affect God’s heart. We must always remember that the Holy Spirit is not a distant, abstract deity; he is not an impersonal force. The Holy Spirit is a divine person who thinks and feels.
Consider, then, that our disobedience and violation of God’s standards create deep sorrow in the Lord’s heart. Sins that bring disunity to the church also bring grief to the Holy Spirit.
The same Spirit who convicts my heart of sin, generates my love for God, gives me new birth, provides my ability to see the beauty of God’s grace in the world, and seals my redemption until the coming of the Lord—this same Spirit who loves me so intimately and perfectly, I can cause to grieve.
This passage also assures us that the Spirit does not abandon us when sin is committed, because we are sealed by the Spirit for all eternity. The Spirit deeply grieves over sin, and Paul presents this as a truth that should motivate us not to indulge our sinful desires—whether it be filthy talk, stealing, uncontrolled anger, lying, or any other violation of God’s standards.
Trust God, be obedient, and don’t grieve the Holy Spirit.